published in The Journal of Neuroscience, help to describe the
conversation that takes place between the brain and brown fat tissue
while the latter is generating heat.
Brown fat is considered "good fat" or "healthy fat" because it burns calories to help generate heat for our bodies and expend energy.
White fat stores energy for later and can increase the risk for health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.
A person with a healthy metabolism has less white fat and an active supply of brown fat.
The study found that when brown fat tissue was activated with a drug that mimics the sympathetic nervous system messages that normally come from the brain, the fat talked back to the brain by activating sensory nerves.
The sensory nerves from brown fat increased their activity in response to direct chemical activation and heat generation.
"This is the first time that the function of sensory nerves from brown fat has been examined. Brown fat is an active organ that is relatively important for metabolism, and we found a new pathway of its communication," said Johnny Garretson, study author and doctoral student.
The researchers speculate that brown fat is telling the brain many things, such as how much heat is being generated, how much and what types of free energy are being used or stored, how much fat we have, and how much fat we have lost.
Studies show that brown fat plays a big role in someone having the capability to burn more energy, becoming a tool to stay trim and fight obesity.
"Pharmaceutical companies are trying to target brown fat and activate it more," Garretson added.
There is evidence that people with more brown fat have a better metabolism, lower instances of Type 2 diabetes and are trimmer.
"Knowing how to increase the amount of brown fat activity or increase the brown fat, that is the future of trying to figure out yet another way to try and lose weight effectively and quickly," the authors wrote.
As brown fat starts to generate heat, it increases our metabolism and helps us burn white fat.
This study shows a feedback loop between brown fat tissue and the brain, Garretson said.